Fitness costs of increased cataract frequency and cumulative radiation dose in natural mammalian populations from Chernobyl
Lehmann, P., Boratynski, Z., Mappes, T., Mousseau, T. A., & Møller, A. P. (2016). Fitness costs of increased cataract frequency and cumulative radiation dose in natural mammalian populations from Chernobyl. Scientific Reports, 6, Article 19974. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep19974
Published inScientific Reports
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaBiologisten vuorovaikutusten huippututkimusyksikköEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCentre of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research
© 2016 the Authors. Published by Nature Publishing Group. This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens that reduces light transmission to the retina and it decreases the visual acuity of the bearer. The prevalence of cataracts in natural populations of mammals and their potential ecological significance, is poorly known. Cataracts have been reported to arise from high levels of oxidative stress and a major cause of oxidative stress is ionizing radiation. We investigated whether elevated frequencies of cataracts are found in eyes of bank voles Myodes glareolus collected from natural populations in areas with varying levels of background radiation in Chernobyl. We found high frequencies of cataracts in voles collected from different areas in Chernobyl. The frequency of cataracts was positively correlated with age and in females also with the accumulated radiation dose. Furthermore, the number of offspring in female voles was negatively correlated with cataract severity. The results suggest that cataracts primarily develop as a function of ionizing background radiation, most likely as a plastic response to high levels of oxidative stress. It is therefore possible that the elevated levels of background radiation in Chernobyl affect the ecology and fitness of local mammals both directly through, for instance, reduced fertility and indirectly, through increased cataractogenesis. ...
PublisherNature Publishing Group
Publication in research information system
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingThe authors wish to thank Igor Chizhevsky and Gennadi Milinevski for logistic support and help. The project was funded by the Academy of Finland to T. Mappes (project number 268670). Z. Boratyński is a postdoctoral grantee from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (RH/BPD/84822/2012).
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2016 the Authors. Published by Nature Publishing Group. This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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